No Is A 4-Letter Word–Chapter Five–Don’t Listen to Naysayers

Naysayers are people that always criticize you or stand in your way. While I don’t want to speak deprecatingly about my mother, she was certainly a naysayer.

I am not sure if she thought she was protecting me from harm or not when she said that I couldn’t do something. The more she said it the more I wanted to priove her wrong. Her negative comments usually revolved around my sports-related accomplishments. If you have read my book on dieting you will know that I was an endurance athelete for several years. Every time I told my mother that I wanted to try something new or to reach a new milestone, she said that I couldn’t do it. When I told her I wanted to run a marathon, she gave me her patented reply. The same held true for my first triathlon, then my first half Iron Man and finally my Iron Man race. You would think that she would have just given up. But she never did. Maybe her negative comments gave me the resolve and determination to achieve these milestones? You know what, I think they did. She was against me even doing my backpacking trips, she thought it would be too hard. She was most assuredly against my scuba diving, and then once I started becoming more adventurous, she was against my diving on wrecks and caverns and finally oil rigs.

I eventually became a game with me. I think I actually looked for things to do that would “get her goat”. I even tried tandem skydiving. That received a firm “Hell No!!”. Sadly my mother is no longer with us to give me my much needed negative reinforcements. She would probably have said that I couldn’t write a book as well. Who knows. The point I am making is that you can’t let these kind of interactions stand in your way. If you really want to do something and it is not going to hurt anyone by doing it including yourself, then do it. You only live once.

In Chapter 2, I mentioned the military and a career option that I had the opportunity to follow. In this case where it mattered the most, I allowed the naysaying to prevent me from doing it. I should have known better. I have several family members that have entered into the military. Everyone realized positive outcomes from these career moves. One of my nephews is still in the military. He travels all over the world on the government’s dime. How great is that? He just went to Africa.

“Naysayers fall into two groups: Those who start trashing an effort before it’s even begun and those who find fault in everything along the way. Naysayers do nothing to help solve problems or address issues that inevitably come up.”

Chapter VII. Don’t Listen to Losers, Whiners, and Naysayers—Believe in Yourself from The book “It’s Time to Talk about Race at Work,” By Kelly McDonald.

It’s difficult to be firm with those you love and care for, and who love and care for you, when their concern is for your well-being. Don’t subject yourself to endless discussions where they’re trying to convince you to go against your dream, your goal, your vision. Appreciate their concern, and if they have specific points or suggestions, respect them enough to hear them out. But make it clear that you are determined to succeed and stick to your guns.

Focus is the element that renews your strength and keeps the big picture alive, in the midst of all the little crises and fires and potholes along the way. Maintaining your focus isn’t always easy. Dealing with the starts and stops along the way, the difficulties and roadblocks, all takes focus, and keeping the faith during these difficult times is a real brain drain. Be prepared to physically and emotionally put it all on the line for your goal, and believe in your dream. Sometimes, it may even come down to avoiding some people you know and love. The ones that are true will still love you and care for you. Your real friends won’t be angry or resentful, and in the end will accept your decisions and celebrate your successes with you. The ones who can’t are showing their true colors, and a lot of times, it may hurt. But the choice is really theirs. You’ve made your choice, to go for your goal. You’ve found that true success was always inside you, and you’ve created the successes in your life from the inside out.

The following excerpt is from Chapter 17–Dealing with Naysayers and Derailers from The book “It’s Time to Talk about Race at Work,” By Kelly McDonald.

There are two things to keep in mind when the naysayers start yapping. The first has to do with their qualifications. Ask yourself these questions about their free advice:

Have any one of these people actually done anything even close to what you want to do?

Do they have any first hand experience?

Are they experts in the exact area that you’re entering?

Ninety-nine percent of the time the answer will be no. They are usually the kind of know-it-alls who have only superficial knowledge and they think it qualifies them as experts who can give you personal advice.

Unless someone has impeccable credentials and unquestioned expertise in the specific area your business covers, their advice is practically worthless. Even if they have done something that’s almost but not quite the same, what they have to say is not that important.

The second set of questions may be even more important. These have to do with their objectives:

Where are they coming from?

What is behind their advice? A spouse may tell you not to take risks because you are part of his or her financial support. They have a vested interest in keeping things the same. Unfortunately, you can never move ahead if you never take that chance, and chances are, you won’t be very happy doing the same old-same old. You may need to tell your spouse that you need him or her to trust you and support you in your quest for your dreams.

Do they have another agenda? Would they benefit somehow from you not entering the business, or if you failed? Friends who have never had any success may not want you to have any either. Although they would never say so, deep down inside they want to keep you down where they are. That would keep their world the way they like it.

Here are three ways to deal with naysayers and get them to shift from negative, unhelpful comments to positive, constructive input:

Create a time and place for input and ideas. While some naysayers are bold and challenge everything, others are quite insecure and petty and will only disparage ideas and efforts when “the coast is clear.” By creating specific times for discussion and ideation, such as regular meetings, you also create the appropriate environment where criticism and concern can be brought up for discussion. If the naysayer is trashing efforts behind the scenes, you can call them on it and say, “Ed, in our weekly meetings, you haven’t shared your concerns about this, but I’ve heard that you feel we’re making a big mistake. The purpose of these meetings is to collectively discuss our progress. If you have something to say, this is the place to do so. It’s inappropriate to do otherwise.”

Be Optimistic–Naysayers tend to be pessimistic. They see the flaws in everything instead of seeing the possibilities. They focus on problems instead of solutions. By using optimism to direct the conversation, they won’t have a platform for their negative comments. Optimism forces people to focus on what can be done, rather than what can’t.

Confront naysayers about the destructive comments they make. Confronting naysayers shines a spotlight on their duplicity (saying one thing, or nothing, in a meeting, then saying something critical later). This is a warning shot. Once you’ve addressed this and told the naysayer to contribute appropriately, you’re in position to use stronger language if it happens again. This cannot and will not be tolerated. It stops right now. Do you understand? If it happens again, your job is at risk.”